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The difference between an Accelerator and an Incubator

  • On November 30, 2016
  • founding a startup, startup investments, startup programmes, startups, Telenet Kickstart, telenet kickstart programme

The difference between an Accelerator and an Incubator

You probably heard about “accelerator” and “incubator” before. But we noticed that the difference between the two is unclear. It is true that there is an overlap across the incubator VS accelerator services but many elements differentiate one from the other. Let’s list them up for you!

Guidance and mentorship

We’ll start by explaining the shared element of both an accelerator and an incubator. Both guide and mentor startups (or firms in general). In other words: they prepare businesses for growth. Nevertheless, they both do this at different stages in the business lifecycle.

The circle of (startup) life 

A startup has three major business stages. These stages are comparable to a human’s life: childhood, adolescence and adulthood. First, parents learn their child the lessons of life. Just like a mother or a father to a child, an incubator provides security and shelter. In the incubation phase, a startup has to learn business- and network skills and find access to financing. It’s like learning to walk in order to be able to stand on your own feet. Second, it is time for one of the most challenging stages in life: evolving from child to teenager. It is not only one of the most challenging periods in a person’s life, it is a demanding time for enterprises as well. The danger for a company is to lose track of its unique value proposition, its identity. At this critical point, most incubator programs end. But the startup is far from grown up. This is the moment when the business needs the advice from a business accelerator who helps the startups to find a clear mindset and strategy for the future. The third and final stage is becoming an adult. You’re grown up and it is time to find your own way. This doesn’t mean that you know everything at this stage. This counts for businesses as well as for human beings. You have to keep up with the latest evolutions and technologies in order to stay competitive.

Start it @kbc community to the rescue 

In short: incubators help companies to walk and talk. Accelerators teach them how to run. It is important to notice that startups need them both to ensure sustainable growth. Another essential thing to make your startup work: a community. This is where Start it @kbc comes into the picture. Belgian startups can count on the support, skills, knowledge and entire network of the Start it community to incubate, accelerate or to connect. Apply now on